P1: Pantera returns to series

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PANTERA RETURNS TO POWERBOAT P1 WITH A NEW 41 FOR PHOENIX 8 TV Pantera President Jo Nunez Partners with Martin Lai - New Boat to Debut in SuperSport If preparation is key to a successful racing venture, then the 41 Pantera new Phoenix 8 ...

PANTERA RETURNS TO POWERBOAT P1 WITH A NEW 41 FOR PHOENIX 8 TV

Pantera President Jo Nunez Partners with Martin Lai - New Boat to Debut in SuperSport

If preparation is key to a successful racing venture, then the 41 Pantera new Phoenix 8 TV/Pantera Racing Team could be a contender in the 2010 Powerboat P1 World Championship SuperSport class.

Two years ago, veteran American championship racer Jo Nunez, president of Pantera Boats, began conversations with P1 racer, Martin Lai of the Phoenix 8 TV team, about building a boat that would stand up to the rough waters of the Powerboat P1 World Championship. Nunez, a World Champ, and his father, Pepe, an Offshore Champion and speed record holder were giving a second look at an existing mold for 41-foot Pantera they had never put into production.

For 24 months, Lai and Nunez exchanged emails and phone calls discussing the boat, the set-up, and racing strategy--exchanges that resulted in the pair agreeing to race together under the Phoenix 8 TV/Pantera Racing Team banner in hopes of capturing a Powerboat P1 World Championship title.

The pair will be partnered in a new custom-built 41-foot Pantera with a twin-step bottom and powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 525 EFIs with NXT1SSM drives, a combination of the Mercury Racing #6 Drive and a NXT1 transmission. Nunez described the power-train package as "bullet proof". It will allow us to be a lot more aggressive with drive heights and open up a broader selection of propellers," he said.

Lai, the only Chinese competitor in offshore, is a UK-based businessman and has raced in the SuperSport class the past three years; he also has extensive experience racing in England and the Far East. "I am looking forward to racing this season with the new Pantera 41 and aim to win the 2010 P1 World Championships," he said.

Nunez, first generation American of Cuban parents, grew up in the family boat-building business. Following in his father's footsteps, he raced to a SBI World Championship in 2001, and has raced in Factory 1, Factory 2 and P-Class. Racing has been the main-stay of his life, starting as a NHRA Drag driver for Benihana Racing at just 16. While he hasn't raced boats since 2006, due to the company's busy pace, building patrol and pleasure boats, but ever a competitor, he still races motocross as a hobby.

Phoenix 8 TV/Pantera Racing Team will draw on Pepe Nunez's 35-years of boat-building and race experience, including a Miami to New York record run in 1978. The elder Nunez set that record in a 24-foot Pantera with twin Mercury 2.4 litre outboards.

Pantera previously competed in Powerboat P1, when Fair & White Racing ran a Pantera 36 in SuperSport from 2004 through 2006. Jo Nunez is interested in the adaptation to P1 and European-style offshore racing, citing his experience in the speed-bracketed U.S. P-Class racing as a plus. He also says, "The P1 power-to-weight ratio is what racing is all about. It allows all manufacturers -- hulls, engines, drive systems -- a chance to compete on a level field--It's real racing!"

Lai and Nunez plan to do extensive testing in Florida before shipping the boat to Europe for the 2010 season opener in Split, Croatia, April 16-18.

The team also has the advantage of a partnership with the largest independent satellite broadcasting company in China, Phoenix TV, which will televise the Powerboat P1 Championships globally, providing exposure for the teams in Asia, a new growth market for the marine and luxury products. The Powerboat P1 World Championships are broadcast globally through a variety of international broadcasters including EuroSport, RAI and in the US, MAV-TV.

-source: powerboat p1

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